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American Sports Betting Legislation

By Special Guest
Darrel Rade
February 20, 2019

The Sports betting legislation in America has been through hills and valleys. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 took away much freedom gambling freedom that existed. This act left Nevada as the only jurisdiction where individuals could place wagers on the results of a single sporting event.

Since then, attempt after attempt has tried to repeal the law and open up gambling markets in the US to the public once again. The Supreme Court ruling of May 2018 could not have come at a better time. It struck down a federal regulation that barred gambling on football, basketball, baseball as well as other sports, and gave individual states the green light to enact appropriate gambling laws to legalize betting on the various sports events.

The anticipation was so rife that about thirty states were ready to offer some form of sports betting if the court proceedings turned out as expected. Fast forward to February 2019, and already only twelve states have not introduced any bills before the states’ houses for legislation.

Among the states that are already offering gambling markets are Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, and Mississippi, reports Other states that have already legalized sports betting are New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. States in the on-deck circle status are New York and Arkansas, while Connecticut, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Minnesota, among many others, are in motion to enact legislation.

Eleven states have little or no legal activity yet towards legalizing gambling. The laws of these states prohibit sports betting, and such states can only allow betting if the said laws are repealed or amended. The said laws, however, are not cast on stone. As it stands, only Utah, which has a robust anti-gambling stance seems impregnable to the searing wave of legalizing sports betting.

The Move Towards Full-Blown Legislation

The real clamor for blanket repealing of the act of 1992 that outlawed sports betting begun much earlier but it gained momentum in 2017 when the State of New Jersey presented its case before the Supreme Court. The success of this case prepped the ground for other states to push for their cases and enact the necessary laws to allow gambling.

Regulation and Resistance

The gains of the sports betting industry do seem short-lived, as is the joy that came with the historic Supreme Court ruling. Congress already has sight of the industry, bringing forth a bill to the floor of the house. The bill seeks to provide a framework for creating a national clearinghouse for storing wagering data. Sponsored by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and his Democratic counterpart Charles Schumer, it aims to uphold the integrity of sports and protect consumers.

If enacted, the resulting law shall restrict sportsbooks to rely only on official game data that is available from professional leagues. This federal oversight may upset states like New Jersey that already have a tidy set up going on.

Leagues across America have fought for the legalization of sports betting for a long time now. With the 2018 Supreme Court ruling, the multi-billion-dollar market is now open to casinos, sportsbook operators, sports leagues advertisers and tech firms to reap. It does not seem the most opportune time for oversight the kind that Congress is contemplating.

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